Voters have one easy choice and one tough choice in judicial races this year. Incumbent Charles W. Johnson faces Douglas Smith, a Snohomish County lawyer, for a seat on the Washington state Supreme Court. Though Johnson won in an upset six years ago, he has earned the respect of his fellow justices and has some impressive endorsements, including the state’s law school deans and the Washington State Council of Police Officers.
Smith shares the same last name with a well-respected supreme court justice, Charles Z. Smith. But Douglas Smith would be a poor choice. He’s run and lost for several other offices and received a “not qualified” rating from his legal peers. Johnson is clearly the only choice.
Voters face a tougher decision in the Spokane County Superior Court race. Sam Cozza - a district court judge - and Royce Moe - a superior court commissioner - share strong community ties, bench experience and good ideas for improving the justice system.
Moe, however, has worked longer in the trenches. During his eight years in Superior Court, he has championed innovations in the handling of domestic violence and juvenile crime. He gets our endorsement.
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